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  #11  
Old 06-05-2013
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Re: Trailer extension or winch?

Why are people talking about negative tongue weight? ANY trailer needs to have at least 5% (7-9% better) of it's overall weight on the tongue, otherwise it is *extremely* dangerous to drive. That should be the first thing you fix before even driving your boat to a launch much less worry about launching it. The coupler is absolutely not made to hold a trailer down on the ball, gravity should do that and the latch is just to keep it from bouncing off. So balance should never be a question.

SHNOOL is using a simple strap and not a winch and launching successfully.

So the technique would be:

1. Back the trailer down the ramp partway.
2. Chock the wheels.
3. Unhitch the coupler. Pretty easy if you just jack the wheel up. It may be easier to back the truck a half inch or so to relieve the tension but it isn't necessary.
4. Attach the winch or strap.
5. Take up the weight so you can safely unchock the wheels.
6. Back the trailer up (or let out the winch) and launch your boat.
7. Go sailing!

Step 4 is the only one that would be different when using an extension, you still need to unlatch the boat, etc. You do have more control but under decent conditions it's safe enough.
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  #12  
Old 06-05-2013
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Re: Trailer extension or winch?

We must me talking about two different things. My tongue extension is built into the trailer and is rigid. It just slides out and becomes maybe 6ft longer. My process is:

1. Extend the extension.
2. Hitch the trailer to the truck.
3. Launch in one smooth motion, without stopping to futz with anything on the ramp.
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Old 06-05-2013
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Re: Trailer extension or winch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tschmidty View Post
Why are people talking about negative tongue weight?
When the boat is on the ramp, at an angle, that minimal positive weight on the tongue can quickly turn negative. Boat ramps are often very rough and uneven, making a sling or winch launch needlessly risky, and the little wheel under the tongue has a tendency to wonder all over the place.
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Old 06-05-2013
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Re: Trailer extension or winch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Faster View Post
Another helpful thing to do would be to mount a ball on the front bumper for launching. With the extension deployed you'll have a better view of things.

btw.. I fixed your title.. it was either that or choose the wench....
I have done this when I had a big camper on the truck, works well, especially on narrow ramps. I have not used an extension but have seen many others do so very easily. I have also seen the trailer disconnect methods, many that turned out to be a dis-organized fire drill. The extension is bullet proof.

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Old 06-05-2013
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Re: Trailer extension or winch?

GFH, I guess your trailer and the boat lives at the ramp? Otherwise I think you skipped the steps about unhitching and chocking the wheels. So you are doing close to the same amount of futzing, just not at the ramp.

I actually agree that a trailer extension is the better way to go, just saying it is not the only way.

And KrissCross, really good point about the angle changing the weight balance. If it is properly balanced it *shouldn't* be a problem, but that could be a hairy situation if you unhook the coupler and the end pops up! Ask me how I know... where was that thread about boneheaded blunders again... My winch strap broke loading the new to me boat (knew I should have changed it) so I couldn't get the boat far enough forward, went to unhook the trailer because I couldn't drive it like that and I needed to get a new winch strap, really glad I didn't have my face in the way of the tongue and no one was underneath or behind when the rear of that trailer slammed down! I have since moved the axles and repositioned the winch post to balance things.

So after that story, for your own safety, please disregard any and all advice from me regarding trailering and/or launching your boat.
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Old 06-05-2013
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Re: Trailer extension or winch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tschmidty View Post
GFH, I guess your trailer and the boat lives at the ramp? Otherwise I think you skipped the steps about unhitching and chocking the wheels. So you are doing close to the same amount of futzing, just not at the ramp.
Yes, I guess my trailer and boat do live at (or very near) the ramp, and no, I do far less futzing. The boat stays at a marina with the mast up on the trailer and I don't trailer on the road that much, so I guess my situation is different from most people's. But I (and everyone else waiting to launch behind me) would still rather not have to mess around on the ramp if I could avoid it.

Some people have no choice (like SCHNOOL with his keelboat trailer, which is a much different animal), and I get that there are lot of ways to do it. Watching the ramp is kind of a pastime of mine though, and most of the spectacularly bad launches that I've seen involve the most spectacularly complicated rigs. There's just so much more to go wrong.

Good luck with whatever you figure out.
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Re: Trailer extension or winch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tschmidty View Post
So after that story, for your own safety, please disregard any and all advice from me regarding trailering and/or launching your boat.
I think we can all benefit from sharing ideas and experiences on threads such as this, and I appreciate your input. I have 2 sailboats on trailers and over the years I have developed a tremendous appreciation for forces involved in hauling boats down the road and launching them from all sorts of ramps. These days I just want to do it with minimum risk, even if it involves spending some extra money (which I truly hate to do in general). I try not to push my luck if I don't have to, because I believe we are all given a limited amount of it in life, and I want to save it for those truly worthy moments...
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Old 06-05-2013
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Re: Trailer extension or winch?

Easy peasy. We considered strap launching, but there were just too many negatives for us: attitude control, pushing on a string, wheel chock tango, and most of all, time spent on the ramp. Dunno about where y'all sail, but in my experience, boat ramps can be pretty hostile places. People behave badly there. They may have just spent five hours doing absolutely nothing, bobbing around on the water ... but two extra minutes waiting for the ramp makes them blow a vein in their heads. I can imagine how popular a sailboater fussing with wheel chocks and straps would be on a busy boat launch, oh, Sunday around 4 PM.

So we chose the rigid extension. It's smaller diameter but thicker wall than the trailer frame & takes a standard Class II hitch.

hitch

Gives us 7 feet extra distance. The tongue weight is a little higher on the flat but goes back to normal on the ramp. We get the mast up & boat all ready to launch. Jack wheel down. Chock trailer wheels, pull pin(s), drive forward seven feet, re-pin extension. Jack wheel up. Now we have an easy-to-maneuver, rigid, fast way to splash the boat.
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  #19  
Old 06-05-2013
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Re: Trailer extension or winch?

Yeah, that's just like mine.

And regarding hostilities at the boat ramp, I have no idea what you're talking about:

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Old 06-05-2013
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Re: Trailer extension or winch?

Back to the OP original question.

A good extension beats a winch.
The nicest extension I have seen is a tongue that slides out of the trailer.
  • Stop on the level ground before the ramp
  • Remove the locking pin
  • Pull the extension out
  • Insert the locking pin
  • Then back down the ramp
  • Don't forget to use your parking brake
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